“Are You Too Stupid to Realise You’re Stupid” Syndrome in The Workforce

“Are You Too Stupid to Realise You’re Stupid” Syndrome in The Workforce

It was Nietche who said that intelligence is the best widespread thing on earth. Everyone thinks they have it. But it is not about the intelligence here, it’s about knowledge.

You may ask yourself: “Why is it that the person that is the least able gets hired for the job”?

That’s because they have the most confidence in their skills. The lack of skills, that is. They do not possess enough knowledge to know how much they don’t know.  They fake it ‘till they make it.

Is that a positive thing?

Let’s  go back into history. Not so long ago, David Dunning and Justin Kruger from Cornell University performed a research (and received a Nobel prize for their paper) on a number of students. They gave them a test that aimed to test a series of different criteria such as ability to recognize humor, grammar, logic etc. After that, they gave them a second test to assess how well they think they did compared to others.

The answers were quite remarkable, but yet, in some way, expected. The ones that had performed poorly on the test, thought they were brilliant, and the ones that actually were brilliant, they thought they did worse than they actually have.

Dunning-Kruger findings

Why was that? It’ really quite simple.

It’s because incompetent people will

-Not recognize genuine skill in others

-Not see how extremely inadequate they are

-Overestimate the level of their skill

Dunning and Kruger explain that thoroughly in this paper.

Let’s translate this into working environment:

Dunning and Kruger believe that if you invest in further educating your employees, they will not only acknowledge their former lack of skills, but work harder to educate themselves.

They do not offer a solution for the skilled, though. I guess they have to work internally to gain more confidence.

The problem arises when you decide to hire a freelancer.

There are a lot of freelancers around. Developers, programmers, writers, SEO’s, but don’t forget also about mechanics, plumbers, electricians, masons as these are freelancers as well.

A couple of rules come to mind:

  • If you want good service-you’ll have to pay for it well.  As they say: “I’m not rich enough to buy cheap things”.
  • If you want good service- find a competent person to choose it for you.  As they say: “Those who lack skill, fail to recognize it in others”.

What about you? Are you underestimating your skills?

No you are not. Most of the skilled people know how much they are worth and what exactly they need to learn in order to improve. They just wrongly assume that everyone is on their level, or better.

And that is something you will need to work through.

In the meantime, allow us to make you smile with these lovely Dunning-Kruger effect examples:

This guy tried to rob a bank with a post-it

These stories about the people that are “technologically challenged”

These “computer trouble” stories